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HIGH FAILURE RATE IN MATHEMATICS EXAMINATIONS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UMTATA DISTRICT, EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA: LEARNERS’ ATTRIBUTIONS

S.A. Tachie1, R. Chireshe2

1Walter Sisulu University (SOUTH AFRICA)
2University of South Africa (SOUTH AFRICA)
This study sought to investigate learners’ attributions on high failure rate in Mathematics examinations in senior secondary schools in the Umtata District of Education. A survey design which used both quantitative and qualitative aspects of research was used in the study. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used to collect data. Participants (N=150) were made up of 75 boys and 75 girls from senior secondary schools. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data respectively. A frequency table was used to present quantitative data while qualitative data were presented thematically. The study revealed that learners attributed their failure mainly to external factors like lack of human and material resources, poor teachers, poor teaching methods and teacher bad behaviour. Some learners attributed their failure to internal factors like laziness, lack of interest and learner absenteeism. Recommendations to improve learners’ performance in mathematics were made.